San Diego to Las Vegas

San Diego was a great experience…. We loved everything about it. The Training, Weather, People, Beaches and the overall vibe of San Diego was awesome.

The last couple of days we spent getting some more jiu-jitsu sessions in at Gracie south bay and Victory MMA. We spent some time relaxing it Balboa park and let Kobe and Lilly run around and burn off some energy which they never seem short of. After a clean up of our Airbnb (the kids seem to make it a challenge to see how much mess they can make) we packed our bags and headed off for Las Vegas.

Lilly’s class at Gracie South Bay
Lilly and Kobe with Paulinho and Gabi
Myself and Dee with Tim Mendoza

Now we could have just headed up the I-15 for a straight drive through but we decided to take a bit of a detour through Temecula, Palm Desert and Mojave Desert. This would add about 2hrs onto our drive to take us around 7hrs, something we are used being from Australia is long car trips. When we headed off on Sunday morning the roads were quiet with a light fog all the way to Temecula. From there we headed east to Palm Desert which took us across a section of Mount San Jacinto Park. The views along this section were beautiful as the road winds through the mountains.

Fog between San Diego and Temecula
Lilly and Kobe checking out the view

When coming into Palm Desert we stopped at the Coachella Valley Vista Point and checked out the view. It amazing how quickly the landscape changes here, we headed around to Twenty-Nine Palms to link up with a section of the famous Route 66. Through this section it felt like driving into a scene from the movie “The Hills Have Eyes”. There was nothing to see but desert and rundown abandoned houses and shacks. It seemed as though all the traffic had disappeared and we were almost alone driving through this unforgiving section of the country.

View from the vista point down onto Palm Desert
Mail boxes in the middle of nowhere

Once we hit Route 66 we came along Roy’s a Motel and Café and home to the worst dunny’s I think I have ever seen ha ha ha. We had planned to stop for lunch but this Café doesn’t have a Kitchen so we headed for Mojavi. The drive through Mojavi was very scenic with rocky outcrops, cactus and more cactus. We soon linked back up the I-15 and were heading straight to Vegas.

Better hope you don’t need to use the loo
Mojave Desert
Plenty of this around

Las Vegas just sort of appears out of nowhere in the middle of the desert. The weather was hot and dry like we are used to in Newman. We checked into our Airbnb which is located at the flamingo palms villas. It’s in a central location and the kids were super excited that it has a couple of pools. We then headed to Robert Drysdales gym for training. We have signed up to complete the Masters Worlds camp with them after some good advice from Jamie Morrison a Drysdale Black belt we know from Perth.

One of the other reasons I wanted to train here was to take some NoGi classes with David Avellan, the master behind the Kimura Trap system, something that I have been using for a while now. We have been training there every day since we arrived taking two classes a day. It is great to be part of the camp with this team as we have learned so much on how much work really goes in with these teams before big comps. It’s also not uncommon to see some of the big names training here such as Kit Dale and Frank Mir who are both here preparing for ADCC 2017

David Avellan demonstrating the Kimura Trap system on me
Fellow Aussie Kit Dale with Lilly and Kobe
Lilly loving the NoGi classes

Unfortunately, with all this training my limitations have become apparent with the rib injury. I have had to make the very difficult decision to pull out of the Masters Worlds, in the hope that I can continue to train during the trip and compete later during the journey.

We took the time to visit the Mandalay Bay aquarium in between training which was impressive seeing as it’s in a hotel. The kids loved the lights of all the buildings and Kobe it just itching to get in and play all the “cool games” in the casinos. We have spent hours just checking out the strip, the kids and us loved the fountain show at the Bellagio, It really was amazing!!

Bellagio Fountain Show
The bright lights of Vegas

Dee is still prepping for the Masters and is doing all she can to get ready which includes not eating all the cool food that’s around, to make sure she stays on weight for her division. Kobe and Lilly asked to do the NAGA tournament that was on this weekend after it was mentioned at their class at Drysdales. NAGA do things a little different and allow you to weigh in the night before and also register on the day. We took the kids after training to weigh in and register the night before, Lilly said it made her feel like a UFC fighter, i’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing?

Weighing in the night before

The day started off with a lot of waiting around the same as all grappling comps. NAGA seem to put a lot of effort into the kids and ensuring they have a good time and event provide a second exhibition match if your child loses their first match. Dee had to shoot off to here Women’s Master Worlds camp and I stayed with Lilly and Kobe. We headed to the warm up area and went over a few things and also helped Bella Mir ( Frank’s Daughter) warm up, who the kids and us had got to know well. Both the Lilly and Kobe had outstanding performances and really showed that all this extra training has been paying off with Lilly taking home 3rd in Expert NoGi and a Default 3rd in Expert Gi. Kobe managed to submit his way to winning both Intermediate Gi and NoGi. Now NAGA do things a little different and I now have a Samurai sword that I have to get home that Kobe got for winning his division. Overall the kids had a great time and I’m glad I listened to their constant begging to let them compete.

Lilly warming up with Bella Mir
Friends before and after they step on the mat!
Kobe with his hand raised
Proud of these 2 !!

Next weekend will be Dee’s turn to challenge herself against the best competition she has faced yet at the IBJJF Worlds Masters!

-Woody

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